I just completed my 54th trip around the sun last week. This birthday was a "simple pleasures" birthday. I took the day off of work and spent quality time with my husband, running errands. One of our "errands" was a trip to the Pinball Museum in Tarpon Springs. I love pinball! We played pinball for hours, did window shopping, and then headed home for a lobster and shrimp dinner. We had friends over Friday evening for a birthday party and cocktails. It was just perfect.
As I sat and reflected on how amazing this birthday was, it always amazes me how some people LOVE their birthday and some hate it.
I LOVE my birthday. My father's birthday was 2 days before mine, so we shared a special "birthday bond." When I was growing up, birthdays were always a time for family celebrations, cake, good food, and fun visits with family. My mother loved baking, so she'd make specialty cakes like Raggedy Ann or bunnies. I always had presents to open as well. Birthdays were special, and I almost always looked forward to them.
As I got older, birthdays took on a special meaning. For my 50th birthday, I wanted to go to Petra in Jordan. I didn't realize I'd spend that day being barraged by dozens of gypsies selling me donkey rides. I had no clue that my birthday dinner of camel kabobs would be so spicy my mouth would burn for days afterward. Certainly did not expect to be getting pampered in a Turkish bathhouse wearing a loaner bathing suit while watching $500+ in hair extensions fall out of my hair …but hey! It was definitely a birthday I'll never forget!
I have friends (and clients) who absolutely hate their birthdays. The mere thought of celebrating their birthday brings disgust, remorse, and contempt. In most cases, I've found that these people learned over the years that their birthday was an obligation instead of a celebration.
Sometimes, people experience a horrific sense of fear connected with "aging." I've found this to be learned from family members or friends who are very vain and place substantial importance on looking younger. You know who they are, too. They're the ones who celebrate their 29th birthday for the 39th time.
With others, they learn to hate their birthday because something terrible happened on or near their birthday, and they never seem to get over it. I did a demo at a hypnosis conference this year with a woman who had not celebrated her birthday for 30 years. She had a relative pass away under horrible circumstances ON her birthday. As a result, her birthday is the day no one speaks of in her family, and it has tarnished every one of her birthdays ever since.
If you're a Birthday Bash kind of person…congratulations! I hope you continue to find ways to make your birthday significant and memorable in every way.
If you're a Birthday Crash kind of person…here are some ways to turn your birthday blues into birthdays for you!
If you come from a family where your birthday is an obligation instead of a celebration, take a moment and trade places with the family members or members who made you feel less than others. Was it specifically your birthday that was putting them out? Or were they feeling "less than" about themselves, and their inner feelings were projected on you? Well, guess what! Whatever shitty presents they gave you in the past, it's time to return those feelings back to the shitty store from whence they came. If you're an adult and holding a birthday grudge…YOU HAVE CHOSEN to hold that grudge. It's time to return that ugly birthday sweater you've been wearing and return it to the store. Buy yourself the attitude you'd rather have, and start celebrating yourself and your life!
If you are afraid of aging, examine where this belief comes from for a few moments. Is it truly your belief, or did you learn it? The most terrifying thing you can do is look at yourself in a mirror and tell yourself, "I love you as is." Do this several times a day until you develop a love for yourself. Each of those lines and scars on your face has a story behind them, making you an incredible person. Quit wishing you were younger, and embrace who you are.
If you come from a family where something terrible happened on your birthday, it's time to kick that shit to the curb too. Shitty things happen EVERY DAY. Sometimes the timing works out that shit happens on your birthday. You can take it personally, but what does that do for you? Sometimes, people use it to get attention by playing the victim that someone intentionally messed up their birthday. No, thank you. If this is you, the best thing you can do is make incredibly awesome plans for your next birthday and begin reframing the entire day to celebrate life. Make each birthday extra-ordinary, and do not let others mind-fuck you for celebrating your birthday the way you want to.
I did something similar just this year. I struggled the last several years to get through March because my mom died in March. As soon as March 1st hit, I'd feel sad remembering her last days alive. I decided enough was enough! I planned our wedding day for March 3rd. By golly, it worked. I barely remembered her death date this year and made sure that she'd be happy for me when I did remember to remind myself. I was so focused on planning my wedding and being happy that I forgot to be sad.
I hope these stories inspire you to make your next birthday incredible. Surround yourself with good family, friends, and experiences to make your birthday memorable, fun, and a reason to celebrate YOU.